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Revision as of 21:07, 1 October 2009 by Jeff Chan (talk | contribs) (What to Bring)
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Welcome to Ephemerisle! The first-ever floating festival of politics, community and art will be held October 2-4, 2009 in the Sacramento Bay Delta, exact location TBA, but most likely the lagoon inside Headreach Island. Participants will bring their crafts and their ideas to build an eclectic temporary village of boats, rafts, barges, junks, and other floating structures.

Official Information

Official information lives on ephemerisle.org, such as:

This wiki page is for community coordination. We've seeded it with some content, but feel free to use it for whatever you'd like!


Post your info here! Ideas: Name, random facts about you, any cool stuff you will bring, your vessel, what you are most excited about.

Attendee List

  • Patri Friedman, will bring my ocean art collection, and pirate pyramid. I am most excited about Ephemerisle as an incremental step (meaningful in size but also achievable) towards seasteading.
  • James Hogan
  • Greg Gioia will bring food, bands, port-a-potties, and other festival essentials.
  • Eric Jacobus, stuntman extraordinaire! Might do some flips.
  • Cheryl Cline, blogger
  • Natalie Villalobos
  • Chicken John, former San Francisco mayoral candidate and Camp Tipsy Tipster Supreme, will bring thousands of square feet of central platform.
  • Ben Lavender, random seasteader
  • Jeff Chan
  • Brian Lindsay
  • Lasse Birk Olesen
  • Saikat Chakrabarti
  • Divia Melwani
  • Paul Grasshoff
  • Trea Kines
  • Kipp McMichael
  • Danielle Strachman
  • Brendan Connelly, trekking from Wisconsin; while giant cheesehead platform would be ideal, may shoot for that next time. ;)
  • Zoe Miller
  • Peter Neiger Flying in from DC
  • Dav Yaginuma
  • Beau Smith
  • Miguel Sanchez, making the pilgrimage from Alabama
  • Antigone Darling
  • Christian Egermann
  • Gordon Gremme
  • Phillip Kalwies
  • Justine Lam
  • Raja Sarkar
  • Sean Savage
  • William Wilson
  • Matt Bell
  • Jeff L Jones
  • Paul Boehm
  • Tamas Kalman
  • Matt Litman
  • Caylin Yula
  • Matthew O. Brimer
  • David Weinshenker
  • Brian Hill
  • Starchild
  • Benjamin Darrington
  • Andrei Izurov
  • Steven Dee
  • Teresa Warmke
  • Eric Arnold
  • Mikolaj Habryn
  • Liz Henry } Will bring 2 small chaos-generators
  • Danny O'Brien } plus fishing rods
  • Salvatore Poier
  • Sean Lynch
  • Christie Dudley, working on Apacoisle
  • Matthew Sheehan
  • Kate Willett
  • Eric Arnold
  • Christie Dudley
  • April Leila
  • David Normal
  • William Wiser
  • Christine Peterson
  • Luke Ekkizogloy
  • The Rhodium Element


Suggested format (feel free to change this):

  • NEED (vs. OFFER)
  • Who: Sharky The Shark.
  • When: Friday afternoon.
  • Gear: Just my sharp teeth, and some hot sauce that goes well with human flesh...mmm...
  • Offering: You will be spared my bloody rampage.

Rideshare List

  • NEED: a ride from Oakland to the launch point, for me and my art project
    • Who: Jeff Jones (contact jeffljones at gmail)
    • When: Friday morning preferably
    • Gear: sleeping bag, small duffel bag, small backpack, roughly 2'x4'x6" art project
    • Offering: gas money, and advice on theoretical physics for the duration of the ride
  • OFFER: a ride from/to Santa Cruz
    • Who: Salvatore Poier (contact miu[at]sparethings[dot]org)
    • When: Saturday morning preferebly, but ready to go on Friday too if someone is providing me a boatride & little place where I can put my sleeping bag :)
    • How many: three or four seats free ;)


This is for boat sharing, ie renting a large houseboat together. Note whether you have a boat reserved, how large a boat, what type of group you are looking for ("Other single moms bringing their children to experience the magic of water-based political self-expression!", "we're young, we're gay, and we are here to play!", "Tortured artistic souls only, ready to writhe in the agony of intense creative expression and conflict").

Boatshare List

  • NEED a place to sleep / willing to split cost of a houseboat with another group.
  • Who: Erick and Sam, a couple of libertarians from Boise. Contact ericktodd at gmail
  • When: All weekend
  • Gear: Personal supplies, food, etc but shouldn't need much storage space.
  • Offering: Negotiable Financial Compensation

Platform Build List

  • Paul Boehm is working on a cheap modular bamboo/plywood/watterbottle platform in San Francisco/Oakland. Cost estimated at 600$ but that's optimistic. We might build more than one if there's enough interest/helpers and we actually manage to pull it off. Contact Paul at paul@boehm.org if you want to help! -> This turned into Apocaisle
  • How to build a floating camp platform for 2 for ~$120 (and it fits in a small car) here
  • Trea Kines and Kipp McMichael are building Triangisle

Houseboat Info

Jeff Chan added some notes and expanded the Ephemerisle Houseboat Info into a separate page.

Boats & Platforms


Share your ideas and resources about how to construct floating platforms cheaply, easily, and with sheer joyful madness and exuberance! Note that there is an Ephemerisle Grant Program to subsidize particularly fun, interesting, or creative platforms.

David Normal and April Lelia are building a platform in the form of a Sea Tortoise. Details are here. We have some extra buckets with sealing lids that can be used for buoys if anyone needs them. I think I will need less than 20 and have another 20 extra. contact davidnormal@gmail.com if interested. Buckets are in Stinson Beach.

Patri is going to pick up flotation barrels in Benicia on Thursday or Friday (sep 24th or 25th), if anyone needs him to pick up some for them, email him, patri-at-seasteading-dot-org.

The Apocaisle group is producing an Instructable for low-cost 8x8 floating platform supported on 4 barrels, with design goals of being relatively cheap and easy to assemble from standard hardware store materials, and easy to transport on the roof of a car. See Apocaisle#The Tatami Project.

Matt Bell has a great post on How to build a floating camp platform for 2 for ~$120 (and it fits in a small car) at http://nasu-dengaku.livejournal.com/232520.html

Greg has a post about Boat Building 101 on the Ephemerisle blog: http://ephemerisle.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/boat-building-101/


  • The Cal Sailing Club has affordable lessons and equipment use, as well as a free Introductory Sails class.
  • There is a SFSeasteadersSailingClub mailing list.
  • If you need access to tools and machines, TechShop is a great resource.
  • The NIMBY artist space in Oakland is a good place to build things. The Ephemerisle Staff are tentatively planning to have a series of work days there (probably on Saturdays), where people can build their own platforms, help build the central platform, and get advice and assistance from the President of Platforms, Chicken John.
  • Thomas Yost has a lot of information regarding kayak construction, including inflatables, on his website.YostWerks
  • Crazy wooden hydrothopter on Instructables: The Hydrothopter


Greg has a post about water camping on the cheap on the Ephemerisle blog: http://ephemerisle.wordpress.com/2009/08/03/water-camping-on-the-cheap/

An inflatable whitewater raft or life rafter makes fine private space.

Used boats can be found on Craigslist, prices are extremely low right now due to the recession.

A Paddleboat would be fun for getting around. New they are $300 -$1000, but they regularly come up for sale on Craigslist and eBay. For example, August 17th, PEDAL BOAT - $100 (fremont / union city / newark) - someone should buy this!

Inflatable Platforms

Many websites sell inflatable pool and lake toys, like http://www.inflatabletrampolines.com/. Here are some examples:

How to build a floating camp platform for 2 for ~$120 (and it fits in a small car): here

One attendee's more detailed analysis of the cost and practicality of making different platform options can be found here.

What to Bring

Yourself, a good attitude, sunscreen, ideas about politics, seastead structure ideas, seastead models, seastead prototypes, ...

See the Seasteading wiki for a discussion of Personal Safety Equipment.

See also some Houseboat notes, particularly if you'll be on a houseboat, but also note the bug issue for everyone.

Art & Activities

Art & Activity Previews

Give people a preview of the art you are planning to bring, activities you will host, classes you could teach...

Art & Activity Ideas

Big Group Activity

It would be neat to have a big group activity/spectacle, like the Burning of the Man. Add your ideas here: EphemerisleGroupActivity

Water Craft / Transport


  • Write a song, 5-minute play, or standup comedy routine about living on the water / seasteading / ephemerisle.
  • Join The Rhodium Element as it drops the beats to get you out your land-lubbin seats and on the oceanic dance floor. They'll be spinning -- well, Abletoning -- a seventy-minute set on Friday night of all your favorite psychedelic/big beat/trip hop/prog house/trance/minimal techno/electroclash/house/full on psy/dark psy/future pop/alternative rap electronica. Didn't Emma Goldman say, "If you can't dance, it's not a revolution"?
  • Group performance of a cappella version of "I'm on a Boat"?
    • See I'm on a Boat for the original Lonely Island music video.
    • I'm not much of a "group organizer", but I'd love to see this happen, and am at least willing to print out lyrics for people.
    • Contact Jeff Jones if you're interested (jeffljones at gmail), and we can talk about possibly pulling something together.

Finding artistic ways to highlight the rippling of waves

Waves are beautiful and their intersecting rippling motions can be hypnotic, as this post shows. It would be interesting to find ways of highlighting the water's motion at night.

Some ways of doing this:

  • Deploy a grid of lights. The lights could be embedded on small buoys that rock as ripples pass through them. They could be connected together into a grid via plastic rods on hooks and swivels) These lights could change color based on the angle of the buoy. How to do that? One option would be to use accelerometers and a microcontroller to control the lights. The downside of this is that it would likely be somewhat time-consuming to build in large quantities.
  • Use a backlit lenticular screen. These screens change their color based on the angle you look at them, so it wouldn't be hard at all to create one that does an interesting pattern as the buoy tilts. For this you'd just need a lamp, a cylindrical lens, and a photographic slide. Or perhaps there's already some LED-powered light that is encased in a plastic case that provides a diamond sparkle sort of effect. Then you could waterproof them and string them into a grid. It's the super lazy version.
  • The visual effect of the tilt could be increased by putting a long thin (but light!) vertical rod above the buoy. Thus, even a movement of a couple of degrees translates into a big jump at the top of the rod. Then instead of these fancy mechanisms you could put a simple light at the top, perhaps with a simple physical mechanism to cause the light to swing back and forth as the rod swings.
  • Put one lamp either close to the surface or underwater and shine light along the surface onto a flat vertical screen a few feet away. The light would nicely ray-trace off the water onto the screen, creating a variety of interesting shapes. It's water shadow puppet theater.

Sea creatures that play with current

Because water has relatively high drag, lots of interesting things could be done with how water affects the motion of flexible objects.

Long glowing tentacles could be created using electroluminescent wire, ropelights, optic fibers, or UV-sensitive string with a UV light shining on it.

These tentacles could be attached in lots of ways. If there's enough current, they could be interesting to look at even while moored to a static platform. Otherwise, it will likely be necessary to create movement. A spinning platform would be fairly easy... then the tentacles could be attached to this platform. If the platform reverses directions randomly, it could be interesting to watch as the effects ripple out to through the tentacles.

Another, probably more fun, possibility would be to attach the tentacles to a remote-control toy boat. The boat could be re-skinned to look like some psychedelic squid, with tentacle attachments in the back. As the squid drove around, its tentacles would follow in interesting ways. It might be possible to put an attachment along or at the end of each tentacle to increase the randomness of its motion. For example, an uneven attachment could provide lift, causing that section of the tentacle to move around.

Update: In case there's any doubt an R/C toy boat would be strong enough to pull a few dozen feet of EL wire... here's one pulling in a fish its size: R/C boat goes fishing

Aquatic erector set

This falls more into the "interactive art" category. Basically, if you find poles of various lengths and construct receptacles for those poles out of foam or other materials, you could have a truly flexible building system. If the receptacles are made out of foam or hollow plastic, they would likely float. This would allow people to easily build a variety of interesting structures on the playa surface. Custom foam parts can be mass produced with expanding 2-part foam mix. Thus stuff is fairly brittle though... it would likely have to be reinforced with something.

Fire dancing on water

So this does go against the "no fire" rule, but perhaps if it was at a safe distance from everything else it would be fine. A line or network of flame could be created along the water using a variety of techniques. For example, a long U-shaped trench mounted along a series of buoys could be filled with liquid fuel (perhaps with Saran Wrap over the top of the trench to minimize spillage until it's time to burn) The fuel could also potentially be held in the trench using absorbent fire poi material. When one end of the trench is lit, the flame rapidly shoots along the lines of the trench until it gets to the other end, perhaps lighting off other (intended) fires along the way.

More dramatically (and possibly a bit more dangerously), a long "sausage" of poster tube material (which can be ordered by the half-mile, is extremely thin, and is airtight) could be filled with propane and then lit. This would be very easy to do and could result in a very interesting (and quite rapid) burst of flame in the shape of your choosing.

Update: Apparently I'm not the first person to think of white gas trenches and propane balloons. A trench *and* propane balloons I haven't seen anyone put propane in long skinny balloons but I'm guessing it's just as likely to work.

Seastead Model Contest Next Year?

In future Ephemerisles it could be good to have an Ephemerisle Contest between seastead models. These models would be large enough to play on, like WaterWalker2. There might be constraints like requiring that the model can be transported by a single pickup truck. Prizes might be in the $500 to $2,000 range. If the location does not have waves, speedboat wakes can be used to test models.